This is the last opportunity in Oxford for a public space by the canal. This innovative development will include a public square, a community centre and cafe, a business hub and a community boatyard, along with affordable housing.
Jericho Wharf will bring much-needed facilities to the area. This part of Oxford is socially diverse. As indicated in the 2011 census, more than 70 per cent of land-based households are renting, and around one-third of children, and one quarter of older people, are considered to live in income-deprived families. This development will support the physical and mental well-being of the community in Jericho and the rest of Oxford.
It is also an opportunity to avoid further over-development. Over recent decades, developers have stacked hundreds of houses along the canal but have built scarcely any supporting facilities – private or public.
Living on the canal allows low-waged people, such as teachers or social workers, to stay in the city. Among those living on canal boats, more than two-thirds have an annual income of less than £20,000, and one-fifth have less than £5,000. At present there are no boatyards within five miles of Oxford. The boatyard in this development will allow people to maintain their boats in an affordable DIY environment, helping to sustain Oxford’s boating community.
Jericho Wharf will thus bring together different groups of people who are currently geographically close but often socially distant. It will provide them with much-needed opportunities for practical, educational and creative activities of all kinds.